Asking for referrals has always been the traditional way to grow your client base in the financial advising business. It seems to be rule number 1 when you are first starting out- always remember to ask for a referral after a positive meeting. However, this isn’t the tactic you want to be using anymore. Asking for referrals is changing and advisors are shifting to using more strategic approaches for gaining more clients, so you don’t want to be left behind.
Aim For Introductions
The main reason you want to be staying away from the blunt question, “do you know anyone who would be interested in my services?” is because it is simply uncomfortable for the client. They are not responsible for growing your business, they are paying you to provide them with advice. It can also come across as unprofessional, as if you are desperate for additional clients. Sourcing out particular people through Linkedin or email pages doesn’t solve this either. Telling a client that you have found a list of individuals you could be referred to, also puts the person under pressure. What if they aren’t comfortable with asking those particular people? A better way to phrase these questions would be by asking for an introduction. “Hey I saw that you and Matt Phillips were a connection on LinkedIn, do you think I could buy you both a coffee sometime before work?” This creates a much more casual tone and doesn’t leave any expectations on your client.
You always want to maintain a positive image of yourself for your client. The Oechsli Institute found that 83% of investors were uncomfortable when their advisor asked them for a referral. However, chances are if you asked enough people, you would get referrals eventually. Boosting your referral numbers should not be the end goal as a business practice. You want to be keeping your current clients as happy as possible primarily. The Oechsli Institute found that the same 83% of investors would provide an introduction to someone with their advisor if asked directly. This proves the power of wording that question in an introduction form as opposed to a referral. People value their social networks and have worked hard to build them. This can explain why there is a greater preference for introductions; they have worked to gain the connections, so should you.
Ideal Client Profile
A common question that may come up when you are asking for introductions is, what type of client are you looking for? Your client doesn’t want to waste your time, they would much prefer for the meeting to go somewhere afterwards. This is why you would then create an Ideal Client Profile. This specifies some details that could help your clients when thinking of someone to recommend. This can include the type of person they are (organized/disorganized), a few suggestions for what their profession could be and family size too. You can explain that this criteria is flexible but it would be helpful to have ahead of time. Building your contact base with a number of problem clients will help no one.
Understanding your clients is a key part of your business’ growth. Knowing how to interact with them and ask for favors is something most advisors have to handle. Simply rewording phrases and tones in attempts to grow your contact base can have a noticeable difference. A new strategy has emerged among wealth management which involves a more polite and less intrusive approach. Adopting these strategies will help the industry and your specific company progress rapidly.